Wednesday, July 14, 2010

World Cup Closing Ceremony

It's starting to get really weird. I thought that when the World Cup is over, I would stop posting articles about it. But it's been about three days since the final goal was scored, and the trophy awarded, and I still find myself coming up with things to post. I think deep down it is linked to my usual withdrawal symptoms, and still trying to latch on to a great event. Nothing wrong with that!

I have finally been able to catch the Closing Ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa held just before the Finals on Sunday. For some reason it was not shown on British TV - although I wasn't expecting much since the Opening Ceremony was aired by ITV with a number of adverts in between cutting the already short event even shorter.

I think we all have vivid memories of the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The masses of people involved. The precision for these performers in their thousands. The amazing LED technologies incorporated to showcase modern China... etc... etc. They easily set the bar for all future international sporting events. Actually, they raised it to a point where most organisers spent considerable time thinking if it was possible to even aim for such as high level showpiece.

It was a worrying thought for the ceremonies for this World Cup. South Africa doesn't have the resources and capacity to put up such a show. The budget for this even has already stretched the country's coffers by a considerable amount, so it has to be impossible. After watching both Opening and Closing Ceremonies now, though, I have come to a rather startling conclusion:

  • Yes, we didn't have as many performers as there were in the Olympics. That's because we have a 48 million population versus over 1 billion in China.
  • Yes, the performance and settings were not in such a level of perfection as it was in the Olympics, in fact there were a lot of flaws. But it somehow worked. That's how it is in Africa, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
  • Yes, technology wise... Not so spectacular. But it was still entertaining nevertheless. And an old technique was used to give it an extra grand feel to the event, something the Germans used in the 1920s and 1930s - searchlights. Using big powerful beams of light, they were able to extend the confines of the stadium to a different level to produce, really, a "cathedral of light." Good job!
  • Yes, the stadiums may not be as amazingly techie as it was in the Olympics, but you know what? Soccer City, in Johannesburg, and Cape Town Stadium are both absolutely fantastic examples of creative and fantastic architecture.

Anyways, no other nation in the world can boast a former leader of their country who has such a status as His Greatness, Nelson Rolihlala Mandela. I think if he simply came onto the middle of the pitch, we don't need the cathedral of light, or Shakira. It will be more than enough to set the crowd alight, not just in the stadium, but around the world! You know what? Forget the match all together!

Good job South Africa! You've made all of us living abroad exceedingly proud to be African, especially - South African!

Image source: AP, AFP

No comments: